Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by mikeman, Feb 2, 2011.
Nice gain. Unlike you, I don't have the cojones to drop that much on a single stock
And MU has been a tear lately as well
Was hoping to get some fresh eyes on my current retirement / investment situation…
I'm currently 36 years old with a young daughter. Current investment breakdown below:
1) 401k ~ $65k spread across a wide variety of funds, heavier emphasis on American domestic stocks.
2) IRA ~ $5k evenly split across AMPCX, AEPCX and GFACX
3) Ameritrade Brokerage ~$2k mostly parked in CHD and TGT
4) Utah 529 for my daughter ~$6k spread across various Vanguard funds.
401k is currently 9% of my gross income with a 4% match from my employer. Mostly on autopilot since 2010.
I haven't added to my IRA since my consulting days. Any significant amount of cash laying around is probably going into my daughter’s college fund until I feel a sense of comfort there (maybe $70-100K?).
Wanted to get a sense from other SF'ers in their mid 30's that might be in a similar situation of where they're prioritizing their investment dollars.
If Ameritrade has any zero commission ETF's or funds, I'll would be interested in exploring that for some odds and ends.
Any insights and thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks for the input guys.
Today in cha-ching:
My SolarCity is up 20% !!
I saw that. Such a crazy stock. Are you in the green yet?
Ya, I was down 6, now I'm up 14 or whatever it closed at.
I have most of my investments at TD Ameritrade and they do have a number of good zero commission ETFs including the top Vanguard funds. If you want to stay on autopilot, picking a few Vanguard ETFs might be the way to go. The Vanguard ETFs are the same as their mutual funds, so there's no real downside to going with their ETFs through TD Ameritrade vs investing directly at Vanguard which a lot of people seem to recommend. Even if you have to pay a normal trade commission on an ETF it's only $9.99 so it won't move the needle on a buy and hold strategy unless you are repeatedly adding to your positions (for example if you are investing free cash monthly into 4 ETFs, that would cost you around $500 more a year if you didn't go with commission-free ETFS.
See here for more info: https://www.tdameritrade.com/investment-products/etfs.page
Oh, question back at you - I'm thinking about firing up a 529 and in passing a few times have heard Utah is the way to go unless your state has a resident tax break (which living in California means of course not). Is the big draw to Utah that they offer Vanguard funds?
I live in Texas so we don't have any tax incentives for the local 529 here (There is a Texas Tuition Promise Fund which involves prepaid tuition for state schools but I know enough people who got screwed over on it to avoid prepaid tuition completely).
The big draw to the Utah plan for me was the mix of low fees and a good basket of funds which includes Vanguard funds (about 2/3) and Dimensional Fund Advisors (1/3). There's also 14 different age/risk tolerance allocation scenarios that's already set for you that automatically shifts more conservative the closer your kid gets to graduation, I ended up with a slightly custom long horizon / aggressive mix. My daughter is 4 at the moment so I'm not too stressed about funding her education at this moment but am very mindful that the earlier I get in the habit, the better off we'll be circa 2028.
At the time I was researching 529's, the Utah one was widely regarded as the cheapest and most flexible option for most people. New York and Nevada were also on the short list.
I do wish there was a way to frictionlessly fund our children's college education with micropayments over time. Something similar to Kickstarter, Coinstar or Kiva. Over an 18 year horizon, even pocket change would snowball dramatically and make a substantial dent in future college tuitions. It just strikes me as comical that we can now tweet each other $20 gift cards to Starbucks but you have to perform the equivalent of a wire transfer to add funds to a 529.
Thanks for the feedback.
There's a mobile bill pay app called check that let's you move funds pretty easily from your bank to your Utah 529. Not quite frictionless but easy enough and free provided you can live with ACH timing.
Is there any point to a personal 529 for someone thinking about grad school in the future?
I remember looking into this a while ago and finding a reason why it didn't matter (maybe it was that tax deductability rolled off above a certain income or that the available plans all sucked)...but this Utah option with vanguard funds sounds interesting.
edit: nevermind. Looked it up and there is never any federal tax savings...only certain states. Add that to the fact that you still pay the tax on withdrawal and you pay a 10% penalty for funds not spent on school...and it makes very little sense for someone with a short time-horizon.
Would probably still think about starting one for a kid (unless I planned to be in a situation where the 529 funds would essentially just replace financial aid).
Definitely don't get the prepaid tuition ones. How does that work if your kid doesn't want to go to your state university (or doesn't get in)? If your kid gets into a top 10 school, are you going to be like "sorry, already paid for you to go the local school". Combine that with the fact that most state schools are still pretty cheap for in-state tuition...add in the risk that tuition reform happens...and it seems like a terrible idea.
Picked up PBF Energy at open this morning
i just try to put money anywhere i can to avoid taxes-- now or later. Roth 401k. roth ira. health savings account. no 529 yet. this is over 20k a year. i dont worry or " plan" with my savings/checking/brokerage-- just pay expenses and do the best i can with it. i figure if you put away 20k in just those accounts for the next 30, you'll have 2-3 million at 65 in those accounts alone. beyond that, you need to simplify your account, bringing it under one brokerage. vanguards or whatevers fine. I think if we put away 20k or so a year (up it every year) have no debt, pay off a house then downsize, we'll be in pretty good shape.
It's really no different in the long term. The advantage of the ETF is that it is more diversified and more liquid.
The value of a regular bond goes up and down based on supply and demand just the same as the ETF. The only difference is that with the ETF you can see the value on a day to day basis and are aware of it. If you hold the fund to maturity the value swings will not be relevant. The varying dividend is equivalent to buying new bonds at a regular interval. Each purchase may have a different yield, and thus your total yield is going to continuously change.
Bond funds we're talking about mature? As to the bolded...beyond me mate but thanks for splaining that.
Seeing all the greens in my portfolio today makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. Am I the only one secretly wishing for another 50% crash so that I can load up stocks that are on sale?
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